Pulp Krieg: Rules
$Revision: 1.24 $
As usual when you actually start using a game system, little things crop
up during play. Sometimes it was more a question of personal preference, in
other cases the rules were not clear or avoided the subject altogether.
In this page I'd like to share any modification or clarification I added
to the standard rules. In some cases I had the pleasure to discuss my ideas
with the game designers. I'm not claiming any specific "officialdom" status
for what follows, but I'd like to thank the people at DP9 for their support,
and I try to always declare which changes are my own and which are to be
taken as clarification of existing rules.
- Daring Dice
- During a discussion on one of RPG.net
forums regarding Silhouette and Gear Krieg,
an interesting modification to the current use of Daring Dice in play.
I believe that his idea encourages people to actually use Daring Dice for
a "pulpier" feel, instead of just hoarding them, and I'll incorporate it as
soon as practical in my current campaign.
Each use of Daring Dice
during play counts as half a point for buying the relevant skill in the
Players should note (for example by putting a tick near the skill name with
a pencil) whenever they expend one or more Daring Dice to influence a
roll. Each tick will give them the equivalent of half an experience point to
buy another level in the skill.
Please note the following limitations:
- Half points are lost and cannot be cumulated over the course of more than an adventure.
- If the Referee thinks that the players are trying to abuse the system he
may obviously decide not to apply this modification at all, or just to
ignore it for any use of Daring Dice he does not think appropriate.
- The gain is based on separate uses, and not on how many dice you add to
a roll. If you add two dice to go from "Unskilled" to "best of two dice",
for example, you earn just half XP.
- This rule applies only to skills. If the character uses Daring Dice
for a stat roll, for example, there is no extra gain apart from the effect
on the roll itself.
Jill is playing an Archeologist without any combat
experience(Dodge 0). She is forced, during an adventure, to boost her
character's low Dodge roll using Daring Dice in three separate
At the end of the adventure, noting the three marks near
the Dodge skill, she can get Dodge 1 without spending extra XPs.
- Falling damage
- Let me quote verbatim the manual about falling damage (Gear krieg 1st ed., page 137):
Perhaps I am the only one on Earth to have actually misunderstood it (this
point has been clarified in the SilCore rules, anyway), but I believed that
the "result" of rolling 10D6 was the total of the rolled values.
A number of dice equal to the number of meters fallen (maximum of 10 dice) are
rolled and the result multiplied by the number of meters fallen (up to a maximum
It turns out that even for falling damage, the Silhouette rolling convention
still applies: so you take the highest rolled dice (adding +1 for each extra
6 after the first) and this is the value you multiply for the number of
So a 2m fall would do at worst 7x2=14 damage, and on average no more than 8
(normal humans may safely ignore anything below 3m, then).
The maximum damage for a 31+meters fall would be 15x30=450 damage, but
the average would be around 200.
- Perks & Flaws
- Some additional Perks & Flaws are described in a dedicated page.
- Raw Effect
- Elsewhere in these pages I sometimes need to describe damage in terms
which do not easily translate to the classical Attack vs Dodge/Parry
mechanics used for combat.
I therefore propose a simple mechanic, inspired by how falling damage is
modeled, for generic damage. The mechanic is called "Raw Effect" and it is
always represented in terms of two numbers separated by a slash, like this:
The meaning of this is that you roll a number of dice equal to the first
number (4, in the example), count the result using standard Silhouette
conventions (keep the higher, extra 6s add +1) and multiply the result by
the second number (5, here).
So an effect of 4/5 has the following probabilities:
Effect is usually meant to represent Character scale damage, remember to
adjust for cases in which vehicles are involved.
In some cases effect may
be reduced through appropriate actions or by succeeding in a given roll. In
this case you reduce the number of dice to roll by the indicated amount.
- Script Immunity
- The wording of the actual rule (pag.83) is a little unclear. From
reading the text it seems that S.I. is applicable only when a character is
defending from some sort of attack.
After a brief e-mail exchange with DP9 I gathered that S.I. may be invoked
whenever there is an opposed roll, so using S.I. to force your target's
defensive roll to 0 is a valid use of it, for example.
As you may
imagine, this makes S.I. pretty powerful (I've seen it used to instantly
bring down a carnosaur, for example, with just a single rifle shot). If you want
to actually use it, I think you better consider the following restrictions:
- If a player wants to use it, s/he must declare it before his/her roll in
the opposed skill test. Never allow players to invoke S.I. as a safeguard
against bad rolls.
- Remember that it can only be used for opposed rolls. It
cannot be used to make a difficulty threshold "vanish".
- If a NPC is pivotal to the story, s/he can use S.I., too. Otherwise
combats against important villains could be easily turned in a sequence of
easy shots against 0-rated defensive rolls.
- You are obviously free to restrict S.I. use to defensive rolls only, but
you should inform your players beforehand.
- According to the Gear Krieg manual (and most of the other Silhouette
rulebooks I have seen) Diving is just a specialization of the Swimming
I believe that Diving is complex enough to require a different skill, and I detail
it (including notes and extra rules for underwater activities) in the Diving Rules page.
The character knows how to design, build and maintain medium or large structures
like houses, mining stations, bridges, dams and other similar projects.
Specialization may cover Military (rapid construction of field fortifications,
their camouflage, assessment of their ability to withstand enemy fire, mine
placement and clearance), Bridges, Tunnels and Mining.
Engineering is based on KNOwledge.
- Foreign Language
- For more options and idea regarding foreign languages, see the Language Rules page.
- This is considered a specific Craft.
- Perhaps the wargame half of Gear Krieg sets things straight, but at
the moment I find the Tactics skill pretty uninteresting.
is to use it as a sort of "bonus pool" for groups involved in
At the start of combat, all characters having at least one point in
tactics contribute them to a pool of points that may be shared among the
group members. These points may be freely added as a bonus to any dice
roll made by any member of the group during the combat.
Expended points will be automatically recovered at the start of the next
combat, but in case some of the participants have been killed or
otherwise incapacitated, they will not be able to contribute their
points. The maximum extra bonus is equal to the maximum level of Tactics
skill among the group.
I strongly suggest having the players spend their points before the
actual dice roll (a good way to keep track of this is using glass beads
or similar counters). The group should have a designated leader during
combat (possibly the character with the higher Tactics skill) and s/he
should be in charge to decide where to spend the bonus points.
Jack(Tactics 2), Laura (Tactics 1) and John (no Tactics)
are ambushed by a group of Nazi stormtrooper (among them, only the
commanding NCO has Tactics 1). At the start of the combat their group
has a collective bonus pool of 2+1=3 points they can spend as they wish.
They cannot use more than 2 points for a given roll, though, and when
the last point is gone, they will not be able to use them until a new
Their opponents have only a bonus point to use. In
case Jack is taken out during this combat, the group will only have 1
point for their next combat.
In case someone has a Tactics specialization that applies to the
situation, the character actual level is considered one point
The bonus points available through this Tactics pool should be used only
for skills (e.g. no System Shock bonuses) regarding movement or combat
(they cannot be used to increase the effect of a First Aid roll, even if
it is applied during a firefight, but they may be used for Dodge or
Throwing, for example).
Another caveat. Tactics bonuses are applicable only in non-formalized
combat. So this skill cannot be used for duels, jousting or other
"sport" matches like boxing and wrestling.
A similar mechanic was used in the original Traveller RPG, and seems to
work well to represent a slight edge in combat for groups composed by
people who have a knack for tactics.
- This is not included as a skill in the manual. My proposal is to
treat this as a special application of the Survival skill. In order to
track some creature (i.e. following footprints, etc.) a PC must roll
against the Survival skill, but must use the Perception bonus instead of
the Creativity one.
A specialization in a specific environment may apply (tracking an
alleged WerePanther in New Orleans gets a +1 if the character has a
specialization in Survival:Urban).
- The whip is a fairly peculiar weapon, so I believe that the best way
to model its use is to introduce a specific skill for it.
My reasoning is as follow: it cannot be used in direct contact with the
enemy, but must be used at a distance, and its usage is not very similar
to any other traditional melee weapon. So just as we have an Archery
skill for Bows, I propose a specific Whip skill.
Whip is an AGI based skill, and it confers its user the ability to use
the whip to strike or entangle targets, both in and out of combat
situations. More details on the actual use of the whip may be found in
the Bullwhip Page.
- Weapons and Combat
- Armed/Unarmed damage
- With the current rules, the world's best martial artist cannot kill
anyone with her bare hands, while, conversely, stunning someone with the
butt of your rifle or by breaking a bottle on his head is impossible...
unless you don't mind risking to severely injure/kill the target.
While the latter part (cranial trauma is no joke) may be realistic, it
is not very faithful to the genre, hence the following rule change.
As per regular rules, any unarmed attack only causes unarmed damage,
while any armed (including clubs, chairs and improvised weapons) attack
uses melee skill and causes armed damage.
If a character needs to change this, he may do it by applying an extra -
1 penalty to his attack roll before rolling for attack. Note that damage
is still based on the relevant AD value or the damage value of the
Shang Ling, renowned martial artist, is facing an armed Nazi
stormtrooper who has just mowed down an innocent family of farmers. Mad
with rage, Shang decides to use all the deadly moves he has learned
during his training. Shang rolls 3d+2 for a MoS of 6. By going "lethal"
he converts this to 5, multiplied by his UD (8) his final result is 40,
enough to cause a Deep Wound.
Later, confronting a policeman in Hong Kong, Shang (AD:5, Melee 2+2)
grabs his Nunchakus (AD+3) and is forced to attack the officer while
trying to escape arrest. Not wanting to hurt an innocent, he uses his
weapon to stun, getting an extra -1 to his attack for a final MoS of 3.
Damage is 3x(5+3) for a total of 24 (to be applied on the UD track).
- Manual Action
- As explained in the rule book (pg. 129), each
combatant has two actions per round. Some weapon types
(bolt action, pump action, lever action) require
conscious thought on the user's part, and so chambering a
new round for them requires an action. In other words,
when you use a Lee- Enfield, for example, you only get a
shot per round, while a revolver allows you to shoot
This covers only the "chamber a new round between two
shots" problem. Reloading (inserting a new magazine, for
example) is a separate, often much slower action covering
one turn or more, as detailed on the cards. This is an
actual clarification of the existing rules.
- My players considered shotguns useless during the first sessions of
the game. In other systems they have poor accuracy at medium/long
ranges, but give some bonus to users, especially unskilled ones. I
propose granting a flat +1 at short range only for each shotgun-
type weapon, as indicated on the relevant weapon cards. Note that this
is cumulative with the point blank bonus (so at point blank a shotgun
will give a +2).
This modification should make shotgun more popular for indoor, room
to room fighting, for example.
- Size Matters
- I propose to apply a to-hit modifier to attacks, based on target
size. Hitting an unaware, stationary elephant (BUI:11) should be a
little easier than hitting a sleeping cat (BUI: -7). I propose to apply
a bonus equal to 1/3 of BUI (round towards 0) to attacks against
creatures. In the case of animals, this value will be
listed along with the Dodge skill.
- Converting guidelines from West End Games
Masterbook (system used in Indiana Jones and TORG)